When She Smiled by Ritoban Chakrabarti Book Review

Mrityunjoy Roy is a fifteen year old Bengali who has spent the last ten years of his life growing up in Shimla. While his family is completely academically oriented, he wants something more. Finally he meets Akanksha in school, who turns his world upside down with her gorgeous looks and mind boggling smile.

As fate would have it, she joins his tuition, and thus begins the torrid year of puppy love, romance, heartbreak, tragedy, and self discovery. Set among the scenic Shivalik hills of Shimla when mobile phones and internet were non-existent, this is a story of how an average young teenager comes to terms with his destiny.

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My Thoughts:

15 year-old Mrityunjoy Roy returns to his old school DAV from Sainik School after  two years. He meets and gets reacquainted with his old chaps all again. He joins Physics tuition with Sid and then he meets a girl called Akanksha. He falls  in love with her due to her cute look and gorgeous smile. He finds out that she is from the same school as him. They become friends and the girl even shifts to the same grade as Roy.

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After that there are many pages of romantic narrations and a set of feelings and events.There arises a gap between them due to some issues. I was sad reading the phase where Roy undergoes physical and mental torture. The teacher slap him numerous times in front of everyone including his crush. Roy’s sister Ashima dies in an accident. There are Paragraphs describing Roy’s parents torture and the way they keep fighting. Roy struggles with himself to restore his normal life. In the end, Roy realises what is important for his life and shifts his focus towards studies. I really loved the last few pages of the book where Roy differentiates dreams from realities. I love the way he overcame everything. I have experienced certain heartbreaks in my life too and after reading this book I feel much better. I am peaceful and strong.

The characters are set in the hills around Shimla, India, and the author describes the scenic beauty of the place.The author mentions about an era with simple lifestyle without Internet or mobile phones.The location is mesmerizing. I was delighted and intrigued by what this  book has to offer. It is well written. You will really feel Roy’s emotions as your own.

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The language and choice of words could have  been better but I think the narrative has its own postives. The story is set up in North India and at that time not many people there are literate. It also gives a feeling that Roy himself is the narrator and not Ritoban. The book is very nostalgic and is about the teenage life. Roy’s joyful expression on snowfall thrilled me.

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This story reminds that when life turns upside down for you shattering your present and you feel you cant go any lower as hell has broke loose, you face a deeper downfall. When you grip to it and struggle to overcome the condition, you slowly arise to the top with a great feeling like a phoenix bird that arises from its ashes. The book is simple and slow without any major twists. The title is justified and you will know why at the end of the story. The cover art on the book with a silhouette of a girl in a background of mountains and it seems as if she is smiling.

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“When she smiled” written by Indian author “Ritoban Chakrabarti” was a light pleasant read. I rate this book 3.5/5

Title: When She Smiled
Author: Ritoban Chakrabarti
ISBN-13: 9781502850577
Binding: Paperback
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Number of pages: 232
Genre: Fiction
Language: English
Price: Rs.215

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About the Author:

Ritoban is an entrepreneur, author, internet marketer, and bathroom singer. He ran an internet marketing company for five years, before trying his hand at writing. His first novel, When She Smiled, a coming-of-age fiction released in 2014. He is an He is a freedom fanatic and an avid traveller, and believes in a life without boundaries.

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